Superfight possibilities shifting lower in weight
With the recent announcements of Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks and Jon Jones vs. Alex Gustafsson for later on this year the UFC has thrown in the towel on the massive “superfight” ideas for 2013. Anderson Silva is competing against Chris Weidman, and with his biggest fight possibilities now having other challengers it is another year of Zuffa claiming they will get something done only to quietly put together challengers inside the separate divisions (which actually might have been their main goal this entire time).
The idea of champions from different divisions competing against one another is becoming irrelevant at the weight classes above welterweight. GSP has gone from speaking about moving up to middleweight (as early as 2008), to claiming it would be easier to compete at lightweight. Anderson has spoken routinely about wanting to fight Georges, but then waivers on how low he can go in weight safely. Jones stopped claiming Anderson was too much of a hero to fight against a while ago, but after hinting he would be around to fight Silva later this year decided to fight Gustafsson in October. If all win their next match-ups, which is most likely according to Vegas, then any of them competing against one another wouldn’t be realistic before the summer of 2014.
Below 170lbs is a different story though. Benson Henderson has made no secret about his desire to move up and challenge GSP in a champion vs. champion scrap, and he’s always been pretty big for lightweight. With Georges claiming it would be better for him to compete under welterweight (again, a stark contrast to words he spoke in interviews a few years ago), rather than above it, St. Pierre vs. Henderson no longer seems as unrealistic as it did a year ago. However, the Canadian isn’t the only non-lightweight fighter Ben could take on in the future.
Anthony Pettis takes on Jose Aldo for the latter’s featherweight title at UFC 163. The winner of this fight is realistically more of a valid choice to take on Ben than anybody in the lightweight division at the moment. Pettis took it to Henderson in their exciting match up at the final WEC show in December of 2010, and was considered the top contender to Ben’s title before dropping to featherweight (and the only reason he did that was because he got passed over in a similar situation in 2011). Anthony has made it clear that this fight against Aldo is strictly for the purposes of getting a title shot, and after it is done he will be back at 155lbs (presumably to compete in a rematch with Ben).
Jose Aldo won’t be hanging around at 145lbs much longer either. While making the featherweight division his own personal kill zone for the past 5 years Aldo has taken apart some of the biggest names in the sport. His last fight was no exception; at UFC 156 he took on what most people see as the rightful 155lb champion and outlasted Frankie Edgar in one of the best fights this year. Not only that, but he has struggled to make the featherweight limit in a few title defenses since 2011. If he gets by Pettis, in what just might be the best fight since…. Aldo vs. Edgar, then Aldo is more than ready to move up and play with the freaks at 155.
So the question I have for you lowkickers, who would you rather see make the move up? Do you want to see Pettis move up to take on Henderson for their long-awaited rematch? Should Aldo move past Pettis, and finally bring his talents to the lightweight division? Is Ben Henderson good enough, and big enough, to take on the greatest welterweight in mma’s history at 170 (or a catchweight)? Personally, I think Pettis-Henderson 2 sounds the best because I’m a huge fan of “Showtime”, but any one of the match ups should be fun (although I’m not sure Henderson has much for St. Pierre). Either way you go, let us know in the comments!